Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It Keeps Getting Better

2 Things!

First- Last night we lost power.  Therefore we had the meeting outside!  Awesome!  It was fun, the brother brought the plastic chairs and platform and set them up inside the gate but out of doors.  We used the fleeting sunlight to cover our section of the Bearing Thorough Witness Books.  The reader was practically shouting since there were no microphones.  But miraculously as soon as the book study was closing, and everyone was using their cellphones for light, the power came back on!  IT was though being outside.  A brother pulled up his truck close(the only one we have) to help us sing the Kingdom melody in tune, without it wouldn't sounded horrible lol.  Then 5 minutes in to the lesson a truck slowing drives by fumigating the entire neighborhood!  It blew right into our faces, and we gagged and tried to catch our breath!  Inside the meeting carried on as normal since the power was back on.

Secondly, I officially have a bible study.  I studied with her twice this week and I go back on Friday!  She's 18, married and has a 3month cute baby boy.  We started out in the truth tract and now we're in the bible teach!  It's awesome to finally have a study.  :-)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Best Day in Service

Today started out like any regular Sunday.  We have the meeting at 10am and then go home eat and sleep then return for service at 2:30pm.  Instead today I went “out to eat” at Esso(Exxo).  It was good though, fried chicken, Oreo Frappes and Coke.  After I walked a visiting couple home and sat down for literally 15minutes before having to head back to the hall to meet the group.  I tried a study that my friend turned over. No esta.  After we did Sunday only calls.  After literally searching for half the people I found a girl.  Just happened to have placed ALL my Truth Tracts.  So I pulled out the Feb. WT and introduced the young English-speaking woman to the study article on Why Does God Have an Organization Today?  If it hadn’t been for the demo I had at the beginning of this month, I don’t how I would have otherwise breezed through that section.  It’s HARD!  Anyways, it’s all I had so she invited me in.  When it came time to read the first scripture she ran to fetch her bible in Spanish.  To my pleasant surprise it was a New World Translation.  She read the scripture and said that she didn’t understand anything as I asked her questions about the text.  I apologized that this subject matter wasn’t the easier to jump right into but urged her to continue and keep going into the second paragraph.  We read the scripture in Isaiah.  I prayed that she understand and what do you ya know, I asked her Why did Jehovah organize the Isrealites in the past and she actually answered correctly in her own words!  That was all holy spirit because I did nothing to help her reach that conclusion rather than have her read what was on the printed page.  We decided to meet up tomorrow after lunch and cover the next section about God’s Organization today.  Due to the difficult subject matter she agreed to read over the section ahead of time.  Whew!  The awesome thing is she lives blocks from me!  I can walk to her myself and won’t even have to meet with the group if the study becomes regular, which I hope!

But it gets even better!  The brother taking the lead mentions that he has a few studies to do.  I didn’t particularly want to go along, but I had this guy call who seemed really interested and I hadn’t seen in 2 weeks.  So we agreed I would accompany him on his 2 studies and we could swing by my call.  So I hopped onto the back of the dirt bike(that’s why it pays to wear appropriate length skirts- I just happened to have on my longest skirt I own).  Long story short, neither of his studies were home.  But my call was.   A little bit of background.  I met this guy 2 weeks ago on a Sunday.  He wanted to know the condition of the dead.  We covered that section in the truth tract.  We read all the scriptures and to check his understanding I had him repeat everything back to me in Spanish.  To reinforce everything we learned I showed him the picture in the Bible Teach Book where it shows a blown-out candle and the caption asks where the flame went.  He exclaimed that he has the same book in Spanish.  Also, he commented that the bible is quite simple.  He liked that I was patient with his limited English.  I asked him would he like to continue his learning in Spanish or English.  He said English.  So I got his number.  For the last 2 weeks, we have been texting each other and playing phone tag.  So today I didn’t call.  I just showed up.  He opened the door and invited us in.  For the next 1 hr and 15minutes we covered the next question that he had picked: How can I pray and be heard by God?  The brother I turned him over to slowly covered all that Jesus had to say about prayer in Matthew Chapter 6 and we ended with examining the Model Our Father Prayer.  At the end, the student asked where we meet and we invited him to attend the meetings.  He commented that he had stopped praying to God and was looking for answers on his own outside of religion.  But he had noticed by comparing Catholics, Evalgelicos and Jehovah’s Wittnesses that something was different about us.  We used the bible to answer everything and it made sense.  The brother used an ongoing illustration about having a girlfriend and the way you phone her to having a relationship with God and prayer is like phoning her.  Movistar(the cellphone service down here) is like Jesus, we need him to reach God.  It was better than any analogy I could’ve came up with.  So I learned a lot as well. 

So I’d say today was one of the best days in service for me because I successfully turned over a guy who is sincerely interested and found a girl close to me to cultivate.  I’ve experienced so many blessing s being down here in Granada, it’s just making it that much harder to leave.  L

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Got Robbed

Yup it finally happened.  L  I was coming home from service by myself.  I went to Pali(a local grocery store) for some items to prepare lunch.  I slipped into the outskirts of the market for a lime and some tomatoes.  On the way home a nasty looking man bumped into me and grabbed all my money out of my service bag and knocked it onto the ground.  I managed to frantically scoop up 60cords but he got away with 20.  It’s just a dollar.  What I am mad at is the fact that I had let my guard down.  I wasn’t paying attention.  People were all around.  But it didn’t matter, they weren’t going to help me.  I practically ran home and kept looking over the back of my shoulder.  The man was saying something to me about my cellphone.  I was glad he didn’t take that.  He must have watched me pay for my tomatoes at the market and followed me.  The money would have been inside my bible but instead I had hurriedly stuffed it into that pocket in my bag because I didn’t want to be handling money out in the market.  Learned my lesson: always take the time to stuff my money away!

Trip to Leon

This weekend started on Thursday.  Jamiliah and I took a trip to visit a sister outside of Leon on the beach, Krista.   She’s in a Spanish congregation. It’s still crazy to me just how cheap it is to travel around Nicaragua.  From Granada to Managua is $1, or 20cords.  Managua to Leon is 40cords or $2 and then its 50cents or 10 cords to get to the beach.  This trip took 4hrs is total.
We go straight to a brother and sisters restaurant right on the water for Fish with Garlic sauce, so yummy!  90 cords, or $4 for a whole fish dinner with plantains and salad.  The next day we go out in service.  With just 6 sisters we split into groups and walk out to the road leading to Leon.  Then we start working house over house.  The evangelistics don’t want to see literature so you can only reason with the bible and read scriptures.  (Sidenote, my friend told me that earlier that week that the Evangelic church members set up chairs in front of the Kingdom Hall in the street and proceeded to have their service during their Theocratic Ministry School- yes singing and preaching and clapping, while our 26 brothers and sisters gave their parts and studied the Acts Book.)  The sister read 3 scriptures and then we parted from the first house.  The man knew the scriptures already that she had read- he quoted them from memory.  The next house was a return visit of sorts.  The older woman was just finishing up making 100 tortillas to sell in Leon.  She can’t read so the sister shared scriptures from the Listen to God brochure that we just received last summer. On my turn I placed the brochure with a young woman about 20 years old that couldn’t read either.  We ducked barbed wire to get to one house and in front we witnessed to a man working on the fence.  He wanted to know about hell.  The sister shared a ton of scriptures on the condition of the dead and explained the word Sheol.  It was a productive but hot day.  At 10:30am we had to quit. L  There was no shade, nowhere to sit, and nowhere to take a break.  We spent the rest of the day at the beach.  On Saturday we decided to save taxi money and take a new kind of bus.  A pickup truck with a covered bench on it.  They squeezed over 30 people standing onto the back of that truck.   I honestly thought we were going to die and flip over.  Definitely not worth the 3 cords to get to the bus terminal!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Nica Mosh Pit

We have been having the International Poets Festival this week in Granada.  The grand finale was a huge free concert on Saturday.  The band was playing traditional Nicaraguan music with a rock edge.  The young people were loving it.  So much so, that when my friends and I made our way to the front, we found ourselves literally in the middle of 2 simultaneous moshpits.  Go figure.  I didn’t think I was at a MCR concert!  Thank goodness we only caught the last 2 songs.  Sweaty and fatigued we slept good that night and I could have sworn that my right toe had been fractured.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cooking Lesson

Today I decided to invite myself into a typical Nicaraguan kitchen to learn how to actually make Gayo Pinto.  I not only learned that but also how to make Fresco, Plantains and Beef. 
Peach Fresco
Boil fruit with sugar and water for 15min.  Let cool, then mix with a wooden masher while the pot is emerged in cold water.  You can’t use the blender while the mixture is hot.  Next blend for 1 full minute.  Strain.  Mix again.  Sit aside and add ice.

Boil water in a pot.  In another pot heat oil.  Add garlic and red onion.  Brown and then discard.  Add red onion and rice.  Stir constantly.  Add chintoma(sweet pepper).  Stir every few minutes.  After 7min add hot water and bring to a boil. Cover the rice after 5min.  Lower heat and cook until rice is soft.

Chop ½ white onion.  Add soy oil to pot.  Add onion.  Add cooked beans(were cooked with garlic and salt)  after begins to boil for 7min.  Turn off heat.

Cucumber, tomatoes, radice, onion, lettuce.  Wash lettuce and inspect for parasites.  Soak in water with bleach.  Dressing: 1 lemon, salt, vinegar and chili.

Boil with water for 15min.

Oil, onion, raisins, sweet pepper, mustard, sofrito, Salsa Inglese(Worchester sauce), garlic, water.  Cook for 2 hours.  Cut up.  Put on stove with water, boil.  Add garlic and butter.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Night Tour Masaya Volcano

Today was jam packed.  First we woke up at 4am so we could drop Bree off to the airport.  Sadly, she has departed Nicaragua and has gone back to the States.  We enjoyed her company here as we explored the country and made new friends.  She will be dearly missed.  After the journey to Managua airport and back, Jamiliah and I slept to regain our strength for the day ahead.  Since it Thursday, as off day for service we decided to visit the market.  It was awesome!  The market has an outdoor as well as indoor section.  Inside, it’s dark and there’s everything under the sun being sold.  Meat on hooks, rice, sugar, cooking utensils, underwear, fruits and veggies, EVERYTHING!  I bought a cooking pan so I could cook the 4 pounds of meat that I bought for $1 USD!  After, we decided to sign up for the night tour of the volcano in Masaya.  It is still active and by going at night we got to see the most awesome sunset I’ve seen in Nicaragua.  The climb up the volcano was treacherous.  But the view was totally worth it.  We then put on gas masks and helmets and explored an underground cave that goes for miles and saw tons of bats.  We even went to a certain area of the volcano where you can see lava at the bottom.  It was beautiful and great physical exercise.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Last/ Last Service Day

February 9th,

So I decided to devote my last day in Nicaragua to service.
I couldn't think of ending it in a better of a way.

So, Kim and I were finishing up with service in the afternoon with my study around 3. When we arrived to the house my study explained she needed to take her son to the library and asked if we could back around 5pm. Even though we were exhausted we said sure and decided to go ahead and meet the group in territory until 5. When we arrived at 5pm my study wasn't home yet, but her mother let us in. We witnessed to her for about 15 minutes until my study got home and she decided she wants to study the Bible Teach Book in Spanish! (yay)

So when we transitioned to conducting my study it lasted 2 hours! and it could of went longer but I had to wrap it up lol. But I really felt good leaving the house. Thanks to Jehovah, Kim and my study get along really good. Kim is great getting her to focus in on the main points and giving her little homework assignments. I hope with Jehovah's help, she will continue to progress and flourish with all the bible truths she's learning, because she's so hungry for it.

On my way home, I was walking down the Calzada and saw one of the bible studies who has been attending the meeting regularly and has so much zeal, its contagious! I remember, at one of the meetings on the part about what articles do you appreciate for the ministry, he named like 5, and was applying personal's so faith strengthening. But, when I ran into him he was telling me how much courage he draws from the brothers and sisters condemnation and he just loves participating in the meetings. I started to think to myself i'm going to make an effort to have the same type of attitude as be excited to comment not scared. I don't think he has any idea how much he encourages all of us too.

Then in the taxi, I was witnessing some more. I felt so encouraged and spirituality satisfied when I got home.

Then a couple friends came by to say goodbye, which was really sweet.
My last day was really nice.

some friends in service

The Coast

Feburary 2-6th

So in my opinion we really ended my last week here with a bang!
We traveled across the country first stop...Bluefields.

Ok so it took 12 long hours to get to Bluefields but we really wanted to go because we met some friends from there at the assembly. One of our friends Dayanelly (from Managua) is from there and wanted to go back home to visit her family and invited us to come with her...sounded like a great idea to us! So we met up at her house and 10 of her family members sent us off at the bus station at 8pm. And guess what...there were four other witnesses on our bus too; an need greater couple and a special pioneer couple who serve in Pearl Lagoon. Pearl Lagoon is an hour from we were going, but we had plans to go there on Saturday.

 So we piled into a school bus full of people and rode for 6 long hours...then we stopped in Rama, I believe, and waited till around 5:30 am to take the Panga (I have no idea how to spell that), which is a small motor boat to Bluefields. Of course, our panga was over-packed, it started raining, it was super cold and we ran out of gas lol but hey, it was really cool! The scenery was beautiful. It was very tropical. There were a lot of coconut trees and exotic flowers along the way. Once we reached Bluefields, it was very evident that this part of the country is nothing like we have ever seen. The people spoke Nica Creole (which is a combination of Spanish and English). They say things like: how ya day boi?....we reached..etc. The people were very tall and dark skinned. Absolutely beautiful and very nice. Once we arrived we spent the day with Dayanelly's family. We bought fresh fish from the market and fried it whole, had grilled cheese with coconut bread, and I chopped open a coconut with a machete! It was very nice day to relax. But around 8am the next morning we headed off to Pearl Lagoon on the Panga to go to the meeting and do service with our friend Jean for a few days.

Once we arrived to Pearl Lagoon we were immediately greeted by Sr. Kelly, our spiritual mama, for the next few days. She took us to her auntie's pastry shop for breakfast, and let me tell ya, her auntie can cook. I had Pico bread (bread filled with caramel and sugar) and sweet corn bread with coffee. After breakfast, Jean met up with us, and took us to drop our luggage off and walk around the town. The town is so small and everyone knows everyone. It's very evident that Jean makes it known that she is one of Jehovah's Witnesses because everyone refers to her as the "bible lady" but she's like please just call me Jean. One of our stops before the meeting was jumping into the ocean, so random, but the girls had so much fun! Then Jean's mother cooked lunch (chicken, rice, salad with Yucca and other unique vegetables, plantains and watermelon) and we ate guavas that we knocked down from a tree in her backyard!

The meeting was really encouraging. They only have 8 publishers in Pearl Lagoon, so there are plenty of opportunities to comment. And we had a lot of support from the brothers and sisters bible studies in attendance. A sister does the sound, one person does the mikes...its very interesting. The meeting was held in a special pioneer couples house (Heather and Brian).

The next morning we headed out in service...but I started the day out very clumsy. One thing you should know about Pearl Lagoon is that there aren't very many roads. We basically walked through swamps, mud, and fields. So to get to the hall you walked through this very muddy field...and Brian was trying to direct me through it because there are areas that are very deep (like waist deep)...and I three times! lol But afterwards, service was great! Everyone loves talking about the bible. People took time away from their businesses, set out chairs for you to sit in their home to learn about the truth. It truly was door to door territory; where everyone listens. It's so nice because you really get to work and improve your art of teaching. The special pioneer couple told me that have 23 bible studies! and they have territory that they have barely touched yet!

After service the whole hall had lunch together and went to the beach.
On the way home we took a 12 hour bus ride through a rainforest... muddy roads...down ravines, through the country. It was physically exhausting but breath-taking to see Jehovah's creation on that scale.